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BOFH: Taking out a contract

Less is not actually Moore

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Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Episode 36

"But the notes I have say you built a new machine just last year!" the Boss snaps, looking at the PFY's list of parts. "Why do you need a new one so soon?"

"It's technical," the PFY says "You wouldn't understand."

"Try me," the Boss snaps back.

"What do you know about Quad Core Processor Technology?"

"Nothing."

"L1 and L2 caching?"

"Nil."

"What about SATA2 drive speeds and Disk caching?"

"Again, nothing. Why?"

"Processor lookaside mean anything to you?"

"No."

"Maxwell's theorem - Ohm's Law?"

"Is that two separate things?"

"I'll take that as a 'No' then," the PFY says. "What about Nanometre technology?"

"Nope."

"Eldervisse's processor electron gating proposition?" the PFY asks, veering into excuse calendar territory.

"Is that even a real thing?" the Boss asks, both annoyingly and astutely.

"Of course it is," the PFY says, offended.

"It sounds a bit made up."

"I can assure you that it's as relevant to computing as the Moore's Inverse Square Law of IT Satisfaction."

"What's that theory then?"

"Well, the basic theory is that as machine processing power increases, user dissatisfaction with momentary application pauses do as well."

"I thought it was about computing power doubling every 18 months?" the Boss blurts.

"No, you're thinking about Gordon Moore," the PFY counters. "I'm talking about Reggie Moore - the famous Helpdesk supervisor."

"You're making this up!"

"I'm not!" the PFY sniffles.

"We'll just see then >tappity< >tap<"

You've got to give the PFY marks for Wikisalting. Not only has he inserted entries into Wikipedia, he's fabricated websites, complete with photos of IT types pointing at graphs (one of these quite patently the barman of the local pub in a suit jacket with some pens stuck in the top pocket).

"So what's this got to do with you needing a new desktop machine?" the Boss asks, admitting defeat.

"Look, if you take Moore's law into account..."

"Which one?" the Boss says sarcastically.

"Both of them," the PFY says. "Anyway, if you take into account Moore's' laws then my machine..."

"Which is only... ten and a half months old," the Boss points out.

"...is already over halfway through its useful life. So if I'm to remain abreast of current technology I should be replacing it every nine months!"

"As should I," I put in, not wanting to miss out on a new gaming rig either..

"Three hundred quid for a Graphics adapter!" the Boss says, pointing at a line item.

"I need one to run two screens simultaneously at high res!" the PFY insists.

"You don't HAVE two high res screens," the Boss retorts.

"They're mentioned the seventh line down" the PFY sniffs.

"We can't afford it!"

"Which, his one or my one?" I ask.

"Either one."

!!!

It's one thing to deny the PFY a new machine, what with his flimsy arguments about needing it and all, but it's quite another to deny me the chance to improve my service level to the users. Particularly when I happen to have laid my hands on a pre-pre-release copy of FEAR2...

"But this is a priority!!" I gasp. "Can't we cut something less important from the budget - like those multifunction printers - no one uses all the features on them! They'd be happy with the old lasers they used to have."

"It's too late, the multifunction devices have already been bought," the Boss says, handing another page over. "There's barely enough money left to cover paper."

"I... that's what a printer costs!?!" the PFY gasps.

"No, that's what a toner cartridge costs," the Boss responds. "Apparently the contract that my predecessor signed gives the MFD outfit exclusive rights to all the company's printing at 1.25 p a page and includes all expenses apart from paper and toner cartridges. No one thought of checking the toner cartridge cost. The company either goes paperless or the IT department will go bankrupt."

"Not a worry >clickety<" the PFY says, shutting down the print server. "Now, about that new desktop?"

"I think it's going to take a lot more than that to make the printer company re-evaluate the two year lease..."

"YOU SIGNED A TWO YEAR LEASE!" the PFY gasps, horrified at the possibility of being the laughing stock of his gaming peers with the oldest desktop...

"Let's just calm down," I say quietly. "I'm sure the printer company will see reason and let us out of our contract."

. . .

"It's a signed contract," the MFD rep says, "and as such I'm unable to do anything about it. It's very clearly stated that we'll pay all expenses except toner cartridges and paper in exchange for the favourable per page printing model proposed."

"So you're not even going to consider a shorter contract or cheaper toner cartridges?" I ask

"I'd like to help you, but a contract is a contract..."

"Fair enough," I say, to the disgust of the Boss. "Thanks for coming and meeting with us. I'll just show you out of the building..."

. . Five minutes later outside the building . .

"No hard feelings?" the MFD guy says apologetically.

"None whatsoever," I say as an MFD sails into the windscreen of his car ">CRASH< Oh dear, someone must have accidentally bumped that out the window. Lucky ONE of us is paying for the insurance though. >CRASH< Oh, two clumsy people..."

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